What: Concert by the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra,
Enrique Arturo Diemecke, music director,
Cecilia Tsan cello soloist, music by Ana Lara, Lalo and Ravel
Where: Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center,
300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach
When: Saturday at 8 p.m., pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.
Phone: (562) 436-3203 ext. 1
By John Farrell
Special to the Press-Telegram
It’s called “French Impressions,” but Saturday’s concert by the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Enrique Arturo Diemecke isn’t all French. It is more like a musical cocktail.
Two big orchestral works by French composers Edouard Lalo and Maurice Ravel fill most of the musical glass, but a short and delicate modern work by Mexican composer Ana Lara is in the mix to give the evening a slightly exotic flavor.
Saturday’s program also features the orchestra’s fourth collaboration with the massed California State University choirs under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Talberg. The choirs will join the orchestra for the concert’s finale, the complete “Daphnis and Chloe” by Ravel. The orchestra’s principal cellist Cecilia Tsan will be featured soloist with the LBSO in Lalo’s Cello Concerto, and Lara’s “Canticum Sacrum” will begin the evening.
“Canticum Sacrum,” an orchestral version taken from the composer’s original creation for choir. “The work is set up to imitate the sound of Gregorian chant,” Diemecke explained in a recent phone conversation from Long Beach. “The strings create a wonderful sonority that is set against the rest of the orchestra.” This is the second work by Lara that has been performed by the LBSO. In 2004 she and American composer Robert Maggio were commissioned by the LBSO and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico to create together a work, “Dos Visiones,” which was premiere by Diemecke and the LBSO in Long Beach and in Mexico City by Diemecke and the Orquesta Nacional.
Lalo’s Cello Concerto is “one of the masterpieces for the instrument,” Diemecke said. “It is a big concerto, with just a touch of the Spanish influence that Lalo brought to his compositions. It is rich and full of wonderful lyric sounds and melodies, and it showcases the orchestra as well as the cello. In this concerto the orchestra not just accompanying the soloist but contributing to the work. It gives both the orchestra and the soloist equal musical strength.”
Soloist in the Lalo is Tsan the orchestra’s principle cellist and another connection with France. Tsan was born in Marseille and studied cello there with the same teacher as her childhood friend Yo-Yo Ma. She moved to Los Angeles in 1991. “We are fortunate to have Cecilia as our principal cellist. She is one of the best soloists in the area and brings a deep understanding to this wonderful work.”
The final half of the concert will feature the 54-minute long ballet “Daphnis et Chloe,” a work Ravel called a “choreographed symphony.” He wrote it for Sergei Diaghilev’s “Ballets Russes” and it was premiered there in 1912. It is the longest of his works and often is performed in a shortened version. There are two orchestral suites the composer himself created, but Diemecke intends to play the entire work, which was written for a full orchestra enhanced by two harps nod special percussion, as well as a wordless chorus.
The work is so beautiful and atmospheric, and though it was created to be danced it is a wonderful orchestral work as well,” Diemecke said. “I am going to play it exactly as Ravel wrote it, with no cuts or reduction, because the work is so magical. The work is so perfect that even one bar of silence enhances the performance, and I don’t want to miss anything.
“We are so happy to have a continuing collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Talberg and the choirs from California State University, Long Beach. He works ever so hard to bring them to perfection, and it shows in their performances with us. They are young students and it is great to have them have one of their first encounters with classical music performing with us.”
Saturday’s concert at the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center begins at 8 p.m., with a pre-concert lecture by CSULB’s Talberg at 7 p.m.
This story appeared in the Long Beach Press-Telegram Friday, November 14. John Farrell is a Long Beach freelance writer. More of his reviews can be found at http://byjohnfarrell.typepad.com/